How to Use Social Media Holidays in Your Nonprofit Marketing Plan
Social media holidays are a great opportunity for nonprofits to engage with their communities and spread awareness about the work they do. But what are social media holidays? And how can you make the most of them?
Social media holidays allow you to create content around current events and topics that your followers might be interested in, but there's a lot of planning involved. You’ll want to get buy-in from your team and leave plenty of time to plan.
Benefits of Social Media Holidays
Here are a few examples of what your nonprofit can gain by participating in social media holidays.
1. Increased Engagement
Participate in conversations your audience is already interested in and having on social platforms.
2. Mission Awareness
Raise awareness about your cause by aligning your participation with holidays that make sense to your brand. For instance, if your nonprofit serves those experiencing homelessness, you can participate in National Homelessness Awareness Month in November by creating social content that showcases how your organization serves this community.
3. Brand Showcase
Showcase your personality with one of many quirky holidays. You can choose themes that align perfectly with your brand, or get creative and find inventive ways to make others fit! For instance, Earth Day offers excellent opportunities for your nonprofit to highlight its environmental stance.
4. PR Exposure
Use these holidays as an opportunity to “newsjack” or insert your unique point-of-view on trending topics to align your organization as a subject matter expert in the space.
Choosing Your Holiday
So, how do you discover these days? Social tools, like HootSuite, release a yearly social holiday calendar that makes finding them super easy. You can even filter your search by platform so you don't miss any opportunities for engagement.
You'll want to strategically choose the holidays you will participate in. It's essential that you pick the ones that align with your brand and mission. You should also consider the culture of the holiday; if it's a religious holiday, make sure you're comfortable using it as an opportunity for connecting with your audience. Your organization should be utilizing a social media calendar to keep track of all of the holidays available in the space and to align your content with your goals.
Before adding every holiday to the calendar, make a master list and meet with your team. During this meeting, review all of the holidays and find ways to make them relevant to your cause. If you find you do not have anything to add, remove the holiday from your list.
Many nonprofit organizations choose to stay away from participating in holidays that involve politics or divisive social issues as they do not want to negatively affect their perception and, ultimately, lose donors. However, it is important to not only participate in holidays that directly align with your cause or service but to show your community you care about the issues they do.
What Your Silence Says
When it comes to cultural holidays, your silence can, and most likely will, be heard. In order to show your audience that you care about their voices and are aligned with their values, you may want to reconsider not participating in holidays just because they may be too political.
In order to avoid remaining neutral and offending your community, you should ensure your social posts aren’t just to check off a box. You want to take action — not simply post a “Happy #MLK Day” graphic. Instead, think about how you can shed light on any philanthropy causes relating to the holiday. Do you allow staff a certain amount of time in their contracts to volunteer and give back to their community, or even protest? Have you donated or partnered with any organizations that align with the values of the holiday that you can promote?
If you feel like you have no value to add to a conversation, consider directing audiences to those who do. Use your page to shout out other organizations that are serving the community in a more direct way. Use your voice to amplify theirs.
Marissa Bruette is skilled in creating visually engaging content and crafting compelling stories to help clients reach their target audiences on a meaningful level. In her role at Slice Communications as the content strategist, Marissa works diligently to achieve client goals through crafting the right mix of goal-oriented content for a wide range of industries including manufacturers, nonprofits, retail, architects, community programs, festivals, food and beverage, and more. Whether she’s drafting editorial calendars or managing an influencer program, Marissa has a passion for all things content.